Critical update for Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 users

Microsoft has announced that all Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 Updates will require an update in order to continue to get Windows Updates [the same will go if WSUS 3.2/3.0 SP2 is used]. This is for SHA-2 code signing.

After August 13, 2019, Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 Updates will not receive any updates.

As the update was just release this past Tuesday, you would of figured that the update would be included in this week’s updates, but so far I haven’t seen any.

For further information click here. Click here for the deadlines.

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Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 12

The new Windows Update

With Windows 10 comes a different Windows Update. The one thing you may notice is that if the Windows Update settings already lists updates to download and install, you can’t rescan for any newer updates. The old wuauclt /scannow doesn’t work.

Or can you…

There is a new Windows Update tool called usoclient.exe [which can be found in c:\windows\sydstem32]. It has the following options:

  • refreshsettings: Refresh the settings if any changes were made
  • restartdevice: Restart the device to finish installation of updates
  • resumeupdate: Resume the update installation after a reboot
  • startdownload: Start to download the patches
  • startinstall: Start to install the downloaded patches
  • scanInstallwait: Combines scan, download, and install
  • startinteractivescan: Will open dialogues and/or ask for user input as well as to show progress or report any errors
  • startscan: Start a scan

Example:

usoclient startscan

Notes:

  • By itself, you get nothing. There are no command line parameters that you can see [i.e. no /help or /?].
  • There is no hyphen or forward slash for the options.

What is Storage Sense?

In the background, Microsoft has been developing and updating Storage Sense. Storage Sense now has the capabilities of Disk Cleanup plus other features.

Storage Sense is intended to be a silent assistant that just takes care of your storage space on a Windows 10 device. When you configure all of the settings it just works in the background to keep your storage healthy and well maintained.

In Microsoft whacky and infinite wisdom, this feature is turned off. You can go to PC Settings > System > Storage and then select any of your systems storage devices to manually see what the situation is with disk space and perform maintenance right there yourself.

Corrupt system components?

If you are getting a sense that there may be some corruption among your system components, run the following command from the command prompt. Give it a few minutes to run.

DISM /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

This should help clean corruption among your system components.

A reminder that, as usual, research to see if these tips may help you. And as usual, use at your own risk.

What to expect in the April 2019 Update to Windows 10

The busy beavers at Microsoft are already working out what will be in the officially named April 2019 Update for windows 10 [a.k.a. 19H1 or v1903]. Among the new and updated are:

  • Remember the Spectre mess in early 2018? Some slower systems [particular 2015 made and before] took a slight hit in speed. Microsoft is enabling “retpoline” and “import optimization” options which will give those older systems some speed back.
  • 7 GB of disk space will now be reserved for installing updates, so updates don’t fail because of a lack of disk space. If you have a very small system drive this could be an issue. There should be an option to reduce the size.
  • Unless Microsoft changes its mind, Home users can pause getting updates for up to a week. But you can’t re-enable the pausing right after the pausing ended.
  • There is a new light theme. The Start menu, taskbar, notifications, action center sidebar, print dialog, and other interface elements can now be light instead of dark.
  • Windows Sandbox is available for Pro users. An integrated, isolated desktop environment where you can run software in a container without affecting your host operating system.
  • Microsoft has cleaned up the default Start menu to just a single column and is much simpler. But this only affects a new account. Not an existing account.
  • You can manually uninstall more built-in apps such as 3D Viewer, Groove Music, Mail, Paint 3D.
  • The search bar functions as a normal search box but there’s a separate Cortana icon on the Windows taskbar. You can hide one, both or none. Search allows you to search some areas specifically – for example just Email or just apps.
  • The file search feature in the Start menu can now search for files anywhere on your PC using the Windows search index instead of just Documents, Music, Pictures, Downloads, and Videos, and your Desktop.
  • Optionally you can now create a Microsoft account without a password online. That account is linked to your phone number, and Microsoft will text you a security code whenever you try to sign in.
  • The system tray can optionally display an icon when you need to reboot your computer to finish with the updates.
  • Additional troubleshooters are available. Some may be done automatically for you in the background such as critical troubleshooting which can’t be turned off Notifications can now be hidden for any full screen for any app – not just games in full screen.
  • You can use in File Explorer “friendly dates” by default. So, rather than dates like “1/31/2019”, you’ll see dates like “Yesterday,” “Tuesday,” “January 31,” and “January 31, 2019”. This can be turned off.
  • Storage Settings will help you see where space is being used and if anything can be cleaned up.
  • Unsure why not in Windows before, but you can synchronize your computer with a time server on the Internet.
  • More network settings have been added to a network adapter instead of using it in the Control Panel.
  • For Active hours, you can allow Windows to configure it for you. It will check to see when you don’t use the computer normally.
  • Added is a globe-shaped icon that appears when your PC doesn’t have any Internet connection.
  • If using a microphone, it will show in the system tray. Hover the mouse over the icon and it will tell you which application is using it.
  • When “Tamper Protection” option is enabled, this setting protects important security settings. So an application can’t make changes in the background without your approval.
  • Task manager will allow you to set up a default tab which will open up when task manager is open.
  • Windows now lets you choose a cursor color and size. You can make the cursor larger and change its color, making it easier to see.
  • The Disk Cleanup tool now displays a warning when you click the “Downloads” option, warning that this is your personal downloads folder and all files inside it will be removed.

One year left for Windows 7

Just a reminder that Windows 7 is in its final year of support by Microsoft.

What this means is that as we get closer to the final date [January 14, 2020] and after, companies may stop supporting Windows 7.

This could be anything from no more anti-virus definitions or software updates to no support for new hardware [for example, if your printer dies, there may not be any software that will work with a new printer and Windows 7].

You may also get messages like: “Your browser is no longer supported. Some parts of this web site may no longer work or you may experience problems.”

The above could happened when the various web browsers [Google, Firefox, etc.] stop supporting Windows 7 even though they will support newer operating systems.

What can be done? You can do one of the following:

  • Buy a replacement computer or if you don’t really think you need a computer, buy a tablet [if you don’t have one].
  • Your computer may still be upgradable to Windows 10. There is no cost for the license, but it will be a lengthy process [time and cost] required to migrate.
  • You can leave the computer at is and hope that nothing happens. This means an increased chances of security issues.

More problems with Windows patches

And the “hits” continue. Three new bugs from January 8th batch of updates.

After installing the Windows 7 SP1 cumulative update or the security only update version, those running the Professional or Enterprise version of Windows 7 SP1 may receive a message stating that their copy of Windows is not activated, “counterfeit copy” or “not genuine” if KMS is used. See here for further information.

Windows 8.1 has a bug where after installing the cumulative security update, third-party applications may have difficulty authenticating hotspots. This only is for the cumulative update.  An update is expected later this month.

Windows 10 has the same hotspot bug but only for v1809 and v1709 – not v1803. An update is expected later this month.

There is another bug with the Windows 7 SP1 update [but not confirmed by Microsoft] related to the cumulative update and its security only update where it is causing SMBv2 shares to be inaccessible once it is installed on the host.

There is a further bug with an Office 2010 security update but it only affects Windows XP users. Seriously?  As Windows XP is not supported, don’t expect Microsoft to fix the issue unless it gets fixed in a future update.

 

Option to delay updates for Windows 10 home users coming soon

Microsoft has been testing the new Windows Update setting in the next edition of Windows 10 preview builds [due in the spring] in the Windows Insiders program. Until then, Windows “Home” users [i.e. those not using the Professional edition, on a domain or and educational edition] can not delay any quality [i.e. non-security and security] updates on their computer.

While Windows 10 Pro and enterprise editions can defer the upgrade for up to 35 days, Windows 10 “Home” users are forced to accept the next quality updates when Microsoft makes it available on Windows Update, whether they want it or not.

Windows 10 Pro and enterprise editions [when not on a domain or centrally managed] can delay feature [i.e. semi-annual] updates for up to a year.

Microsoft has had a bad track record for both quality and feature updates. This would be a welcome for home users. Most issues are discovered within a week.

Those who wish to “upgrade” from Home to Professional can used a previously unused [in Windows 10] Windows 7 or windows 8.1 Professional license or purchase the “upgrade” from Microsoft [estimated around $100 or so].

 

Microsoft pulls non-security updates for Office 2010

Seems Microsoft is starting off the year on a bad foot just a day before Patch Tuesday. Microsoft pulled all 4 non-security updates released last week even though one may be the culprit. They weren’t taking chances.

Gone are:

  • Update for Microsoft Excel 2010 (KB4461627) – the primary culprit.
  • Update for Microsoft Office 2010 (KB4032217)
  • Update for Microsoft Office 2010 (KB4032225)
  • Update for Microsoft Office 2010 (KB4461616)

At issue is that Excel [and maybe some other Office applications] may crash on start up or have other issues.

Go to “Installed Updates” off “Programs & Features” and remove them.